Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:
Moderna seeks FDA authorization for second COVID booster for all adults
Moderna on Thursday sought emergency use authorization from U.S. health regulators for a second COVID-19 booster shot, as a surge in cases in some parts of the world fuels fears of another wave of the pandemic.
The U.S. biotechnology company said its request covered all adults over the age of 18 so that the appropriate use of an additional booster dose of its vaccine, including for those at higher risk of COVID-19 due to age or co-morbidities, could be determined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and health care providers.
Shanghai pushes ahead with mass COVID tests
The Chinese commercial hub of Shanghai is pushing ahead with a mass testing initiative as it tries to curb a new spike in COVID-19 infections, but some districts were easing lockdown rules in an effort to minimize disruptions.
The city, home to about 25 million people, saw symptomatic local community infections hit 57 on March 17, with another 203 domestically transmitted asymptomatic cases, up from eight and 150 respectively a day earlier.
Older people in China should get vaccinated against COVID-19, senior Chinese health officials said on Friday, adding that deaths among the elderly in the latest wave to hit Hong Kong serve as a lesson for the mainland.
Hong Kong reported about 20,000 new coronavirus cases on Friday as health experts called for a clear way out of a “zero COVID” policy that has left the city isolated.
Thailand drops pre-departure test requirement for visitors
Thailand said on Friday it will scrap a mandatory pre-departure coronavirus test for visitors starting next month but will still require entry registrations in advance and an on-arrival test.
Known for its nightlife and beach destinations, Thailand has sought to revive its pandemic-battered tourism sector by being among the first in the region to ease travel restrictions.
Germany to lift most COVID restrictions
Germany will lift most restrictions to contain the coronavirus despite infections hitting a record in the country on Thursday.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz said after talks with leaders of Germany’s 16 states that a record of almost 300,000 infections in one day was not good news, but the easing of restrictions was justified given intensive care units were not overwhelmed.
Italy to roll back COVID curbs in the coming weeks
The Italian government announced plans on Thursday to phase out its coronavirus restrictions more than two years after the disease first swept the country, even though cases are once again on the rise.
The cabinet said COVID-19 health certificates, proving vaccination or recent recovery from coronavirus, would no longer be needed to gain access to a vast array of services, including restaurants, gyms and public transport, from May 1.
(Compiled by Linda Noakes; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)